13.4 miles (Miles 2486.9 – 2500.3)
PCT Mile 2486.9 – Pass Creek
Okay, I give. I admit this weather is just miserable. I wouldn’t choose to hike in this. I will hike in it because I’m so stubbornly determined to complete this thru-hike, but it’s become more about enduring and doing everything I know to be safe than anything else. I want to say I’m splashing in puddles and singing songs, but I’m really just trying to hike through river trails and not slip in the mud. I’m trying to stay hydrated and food-fueled without stopping so I don’t get too cold. I’m trying like hell to keep my down sleeping bag dry enough to sleep in for three more nights. This weather just means business… it’s really kicking my butt. I am still cry-free, but barely. I’ve let out a few cuss words while laughing and commiserating with Tears, but mostly to keep things light. So I’m still trying not to break.
This is just really hard.
It rained really hard all night long last night, and I had to get up and pee in the middle of it, which is quite unusual for me. Must’ve been the three cups of coffee yesterday! Anyway, when I woke up this morning it was still pouring, so I had my cold breakfast, dressed and packed up in the rain, getting everything that was already damp more damp. I’m trying to keep a few precious pieces of gear dry in ziplock bags – my nanopuff jacket, fleece, sleep socks, hat – but when I take them out to use them in the tent, which is damp all over, they get damp, too. I just hope it can all hold out until Stehekin. Three and a half days. I have to. There aren’t bailout points out here.
Hiking in the rain keeps me warm, but everything just gets wetter and heavier. Around midday, Tears and I came to a boulder field of giant rocks. One looked kind of dry underneath so we stopped to eat. I started to shiver after about 10 minutes of sitting so I scarfed down two tuna wraps as quickly as I could. Then I decided I should make a hot drink. I balanced my Jetboil precariously on a rock next to me and boiled two cups of water. Tears had hot cider and I had coffee. I think this was a great move, because I felt energized after eating and something warm to drink.
I feel like a debbie downer today, but this is honestly the first day on this entire trip that I thought to myself, “I can’t wait for this hike to be done.” So maybe Washington is just dishing out some tough weather to make me feel more comfortable with such an epic journey getting so close to the end. If the sky turned blue and the sun shone tomorrow I’d probably totally change my tune, but our forecast is looking grim. As hard as these past couple of days have been… it’s going to get tougher.
We came across Nurse Betty who is flip-flopping south through Washington, and she was running a day behind schedule. She said, “that section totally kicked my butt.” Then we ran into northbounders Goku and Australia heading south. They hit snow above 5,000 feet and turned back to Skykomish. They showed us photos that made me cringe. Shoot! We didn’t make it to Canada before the snow did… I just hope we can power through before it gets worse. Turtle and Willow warned us of huge washouts and blowdowns. I saw videos that Spitfire took through the washouts and they looked scary in dry weather. I’m nervous. I guess I have to try to do as I always do and not worry until the challenge presents itself and I can do something about it. But for now… try to stay warm. Try to stay dry. Keep hiking north…
Around 3:00 we started down some switchbacks and smelled campfire smoke. Seriously? Are we delerious or did someone really get a fire going in this weather!? We continued on until we saw a tent city and – yes! A campfire! Warm hands… warm hands… warm hands…
Sensei started the fire, bless that boy’s soul. Hunny Bunny, Sunshine, Games and Reason, Pony and Alfonzo, Kudu and Soup, Razor, Rotisserie, Kazu, Bramble… they are all here. Some actually took a zero day here, just too wet and cold to fathom moving on in the downpour. We got sucked into the fire and decided to stay, too – it was that or hike on and camp in snow. It was surprisingly kind of a tough decision, but I’m glad we stayed now – being by a fire was a pretty nice way to end a hard day. And we got to dry, or at least semi-dry some things out.
Dear God, please keep me and all of us thru-hikers safe out here.
Tonight I love Sensei for starting that campfire!
Oh! I did have a really fun game going in my head today… so we were once again totally socked-in by clouds so we had no views – just a white abyss beyond a few pine trees. I decided these white abysses were going to be blank canvases for my imagination. Here are the views I saw today:
See that? Yeah, just beyond those silhouetted pines – the teal ocean waters, calm and softly waving into a sparkling, sandy shore. There’s a tiki bar there with a nice-lookin’ bartender serving up pina coladas with umbrellas in them. The sun is shining and hot. I almost took the side trail down there, but I really want to get to Canada.
See this one? There’s a desert as far as your eye can see… and there’s a building tucked in amongst some huge sand dunes where you can rent buggies to climb the dunes with. Oh, and camels to ride. And oasises (is that even a word?) where you can pull up with your camel or buggy for a drink and a corn dog. Or ice cream. And tater tots. With ranch.
This one got creepy and I had to give my imagination a break. Rainbows, flowers, butterflies, unicorns (!), warm showers and bunny slippers. Care bears – nice ones, not mean ones. Oh, and recliners and fuzzy blankets and tea or cocoa…
Okay, before I worry my family by making them think I’ve completely lost my mind… I’m gonna’ stop there. :)
Good night, friends. I truly hope you’re all warm and snug tonight. Thinking about that might help my feet warm up.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!